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The Use Of Student Portfolios To Encourage Industrial Ties In Undergraduate Engineering Education

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.584.1 - 3.584.7

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Paper Authors

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Ann D. Christy

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Marybeth Lima

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1608

The use of student portfolios to encourage industrial ties in undergraduate engineering education

Ann D. Christy and Marybeth Lima Ohio State University / Louisiana State University

ABSTRACT As educators are increasingly called upon to justify their effectiveness, the connection between educational programs and industrial experience is receiving greater scrutiny by students and other stakeholders (parents, future employers, etc.). We believe that student portfolios can play an important role in strengthening industrial ties, assessing student performance, and enhancing learning. Practicing biological engineers were interviewed to determine the role of portfolios in industry. Also, examples of portfolios used in industry were collected, such as company technical marketing documents and “statement of qualifications” packages. Based on this data, and on prior work concerning student portfolios, we designed an instrument to document the student’s learning process with respect to the connection between educational concepts and their application in industry. This instrument was assigned as a major component of two biological engineering core courses. Industrial ties to biological engineering were stressed through the use of the portfolio, and also by direct interaction with industrial models and personnel. In this paper, the methods for preparing student portfolios are detailed, comparisons with industry portfolios are drawn, the success of this student portfolio method is discussed, and recommendations for improvement are presented.


Industry needs and the academic-industrial interface Industry is calling for technically competent entry-level engineers who also have honed their communication skills and possess a deeper understanding of the culture and constraints of the business world. Likewise, students are demanding more demonstrated relevence between their educational experience and future careers. It is therefore important to incorporate innovative methods in undergraduate engineering education which explicitly strengthen the ties between industry and academia.

In two biological engineering courses, a freshman level course at Louisiana State University (LSU) and a senior level course at the Ohio State University (OSU), student portfolios were used to as a tool to bridge the academic-industrial gap. We, the instructors, illustrated to our students the use of portfolios in industry through sharing company technical marketing documents, statement of qualifications packages, and individual employee annotated resumes. We assigned student portfolios that reflected their use and importance in industry, and promoted comparisons between student portfolios and their industry counterparts.

Assessment of student performance and ABET 2000 The Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) recently published

Christy, A. D., & Lima, M. (1998, June), The Use Of Student Portfolios To Encourage Industrial Ties In Undergraduate Engineering Education Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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